We are so different in so many ways, it's kind of incredible. He loves all things mechanical, I can barely open a bottle of wine. I live for coffee and delicious baked goods, he could survive on steak sandwiches for the rest of life. I can't keep enough books in the house, he hasn't cracked a book (for fun) literally since his early years of high school. High school!
And with a house full of little people at the moment (our children are 5, 3, and 15 months), our days center around the desperately scheduled free snatches of time that we both get to work and focus on the pursuits that fulfill us. (He's a teacher by day, woodworker by night; I'm a child-wrangler by um, all the time, and a writer by er, all hours.)
So honestly, when it comes right down to it, I don't spend a lot of time alone with my husband per se.
But I still consider my husband to be my best friend. Even if the experts say he shouldn't be.
Reason #1: You had lives before you met.
Dr. Rachel Needle, a Licensed Psychologist at the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida, states that I have it all wrong. "In our society we are taught (mostly through movies), that our partner should be our best friend. The truth is that your partner plays a lot of roles in your life -- so why do they have to be your best friend too? Both partners were living separate lives before they met," she explains.
But…what if you didn't?
What Dr. Rachel doesn't know about my marriage is that my husband and I are actually high school sweethearts. We've been together 10 years and married for almost six. Almost all of the crucial friendship making times in my life and those formative adult years happened with him. So, yes, sorry but he has been my best friend from the beginning.
Reason #2: You both need space.
"It's important to still maintain some friendships [outside of the marriage] and some space between the couple," Dr. Rachel says.
But it's not easy to maintain female friendships.
Okay, while I see Dr. Rachel's point, can I also point out that it's not actually easy to keep up (or find) friendships outside of marriage? The truth is, I've always been really insecure when it comes to having girlfriends. I was the "new girl" at school, transferring to a new high school in 10th grade (super fun! not traumatic at all!), and I constantly worried about making friends. So honestly, when my hus-girlfriend-band and I started dating during our senior year, it was a relief to have a "built-in" friend. And because we started our family early, having our daughter during college, I also feel like that put a bit of a damper on forging some lasting adult friendships. And then, of course, there's the stage I'm at now, consumed by the demands of small children, and many of my friends are family and other women whom I fondly call "mom friends" with kids in similar stages.
So, in a nutshell, it's been hard for me to find girlfriends. And although my husband doesn't get my girly activities, like wanting to get a massage or go to dinner at a quaint bistro instead of a steakhouse, when it comes right down to it, there is nothing about my day -- big or small -- that I don't share with my husband. I simply love hanging out with him, talking to him, and hearing his voice. I feel relaxed in his presence, and I know that he genuinely enjoys my company too. No pressure!
Reason #3: BFF may not be so sexy.
Dr. Rachel cautions that the "besties forever!" attitude may put a damper on things in the bedroom. "There should definitely be a foundation of a great friendship in a romantic relationship, but being "best friends" might also impact your sexual desire for your partner," she says.
But I think closeness is sexy.
Okay, again, Dr. Rachel and I are just going to have to agree to disagree. I thoroughly don't believe that just because my husband and I are best friends, we will somehow have less of a sex life. There is nothing that's more of a turn on to me than how close my husband and I are. (Although, my husband in a tool belt might come close...) The fact that he wants to spend time with me and is attuned to my needs and desires is incredibly sexy, so I beg to differ.
Reason #4: Your spouse can't make you happy.
"A good friend and colleague of mine, Esther Perel, often says 'We come to one person and we are basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide,'" Dr. Rachel explains. "'Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge, give me novelty, give me familiarity, give me predictability, give me surprise…' Every couple is different of course, but in general, it is good to maintain close friendships and a "best" friend outside of just your spouse!"
Ok, she may have a point…
I have to admit, that one makes sense. I do think it's risky to put all of our happiness eggs in one spouse basket. Our spouse can't -- and shouldn't -- be the sole source of our happiness. That's a recipe for disaster in any marriage or relationship.
-By Chaunie Brusie
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